The data throughput of modern mobile, consumer and automotive SoC devices has soared as high definition video content has become the norm and 5G wireless connectivity has become a reality. To meet these demands, the latest applications, media and virtual reality processors routinely contain multiple heterogeneous high performance SerDes (Serializer/Deserializer) ports, which must be tested at speed to meet the stringent quality standards of top-tier end customers. The benefits of SerDes ports over parallel busses are numerous, such as lower power consumption, lower EMI, improved immunity to transmission medium variability, and more efficient usage of PCB area and connector pins. With sophisticated equalization and error correction schemes, modern SerDes interfaces can achieve incredible chip-to-chip or board-to-board bandwidth on standard PCB material. Read more
Collision avoidance radar devices generate bursts of RF energy called ‘Chirps’. Which are transmitted (TX) to be reflected and ultimately received (RX). A Chirp is a sinusoid that increases its frequency linearly. The linearly changing frequency of each chirp can be used to extract vector speed information about the target. EBand Radar devices produce chirps over a bandwidth of 1GHz and, as in this example, near 76GHz.
Today the semiconductor test market is very competitive. This is especially true in the consumable contactor market.
Low operating costs and low average selling prices create low barriers to entry. Micro-organizations plants themselves next to their sole customer and provides fast turn times at competitive prices and onsite support. Although this is acceptable for some it is a risky business model. Furthermore the depth of knowledge of the product and therefore the value add from these micro-organizations is limited.
Mobile broadband technology is beginning to crawl from commonly known 4th Generation Wireless (4G) transmission standards to fifth generation wireless IMT2020 standardization, also known as 5G. This 5G network technology will influence semiconductor test in two directions, an evolutionary track and a revolutionary paradigm shift. The revolutionary aspect of 5G targets massive amounts of bandwidth not previously thought of as accessible. Many technological challenges have blocked the reasonable implementation of 5G cellular technology. Consumer demand for rapidly growing amounts of bandwidth, has created the need to solve these challenges.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to drive demand for tens of billions of devices by 2020 and these IoT end nodes or “Smart Things” will integrate multiple functions, including sensors, microcontrollers and RF interfaces, each presenting unique test challenges which are continuously evolving. Peter Cockburn, Senior Product Manager Test Cell Innovation at Xcerra, highlighted in his presentation at the nmi R&D Workshop the technology trends for these Smart Things and described two case studies where test solutions have been developed for two examples of IoT “Smart Things”: RF SOCs and MEMS sensors, where flexibility and low cost of test are key requirements.
High bandwidth, low inductance signal paths are essential for testing next generation RF devices. A successful test strategy must start with consideration of contact technology used to interface the device lead. Spring probes are the technology of choice for most applications when considerations also include mechanical reliability. The ZIP flat probe technology from Everett Charles Technologies will provide the case study for the article.
With over 1.2 million road fatalities representing the eighth leading cause of death worldwide, passive car safety systems; seat belts, airbags, and crumple zones have been essential in combating fatalities and serious injuries to vehicle occupants and pedestrians. Even within the developed regions of the world—where vehicles are becoming more connected and providing an increasing level of information to the driver — driver distraction remains a real potential source for fatalities and serious injury.
The demand for improving automated safety systems exists and is increasing year-to-year. As the global automotive industry strives for a goal of zero vehicle-related fatalities, and consumer demand and government legislation drive improved automotive safety standards, active and predictive crash avoidance safety systems are increasingly present in modern vehicles.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)—such as electronic stability control and rear-view facing cameras, and vision-based pedestrian detection systems—has been possible due to improvements in MCU and sensor technologies. Enhanced radar-based embedded solutions offer additional safety feature opportunities to ADAS designers. The opportunity is so large that ADAS chip revenue is forecast to increase 400% in the current decade to 2020.
Radar applications are moving from 24GHz to 77GHz, improving range, bandwidth and resolution for detecting objects. Adaptive cruise control, pre-crash accident mitigation and stop and go control are three examples of 77GHz ADAS applications.
The Test Challenge for Automotive Radar
These automotive electronics require sub ppm failure rates…demanding full functional test, including multiple temperature testing from -55C to +150C. A cost effective, reliable high volume manufacturing test solution inherently requires re-purposing of test cell investment.
Xcerra is answering these and other ADAS manufacturing questions. Our Test Cell approach, with modular instrumentation and optimized signal interfacing, has been used in production since 2011 to provide a cost-effective solution for full-speed 24GHz testing. That same approach is now used for ST 77GHz automotive radar MMICs. You can read about it in detail in our recently published presentation.
We are always looking for novel ways that our systems have been used to make better, more accurate or faster measurements. Peter Sarson at ams in Austria is rapidly becoming one of our most-published customers. In a previous blog entry here we highlighted his previous paper on RF measurement improvements in ACR (adjacent-channel rejection) testing in VHF receivers. He also has an article here on testing high voltage digital outputs without requiring special pins on the ATE system.
ast year one of our customers, Peter Sarson from AMS, published an article in Test and Measurement World (here, and also here at EE Times). It talks about making RF measurements on VHF receivers on ATE using techniques that correlate adjacent channel rejection (ACR) to signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) on the tester, and to bit error rate (BER) on the bench setup.